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Rainy start to the week will dry out without much rainfall, experts say

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay area will get some much needed rain this week, but not enough to make up for this year's unusually dry weather, meteorologists said.

A low pressure system moving through the area, combined with moisture from a cold front, will bring up to 2 inches of rainfall in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

But much of the region will see less than a half inch, experts said, doing little to impact drought conditions.

"Moisture will stick around for the next day or two," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez. "But then things will start to dry. We should be seeing more sun by the end of the week and less humidity."

The city of Tampa typically receives about 11 inches of rain by this time of year, but has seen only 6.26 inches so far.

Other parts of the state have fallen even further below their normal averages, with deficits reaching 30 inches, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Part of the problem, said NWS forecaster John McMichael, is high pressure systems that have kept rainstorms away since January. This is typical of the phenomenon known as La Niña, when water temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean are cooler than usual.

Forecasters predicted a 40 percent chance of rain Monday, 50 percent chance Tuesday and 30 percent chance Wednesday and Thursday.

Temperatures for the week were expected to hold steady in the upper 80s — typical for this time of year — but with the added humidity, it might be "a little uncomfortable" outside, Marquez said.

Any rains are likely to show up in the afternoon or evening, meteorologists said.

Though this system won't last long, there's hope on the horizon for rain-starved Floridians, McMichael said.

La Niña is weakening, and once hurricane season begins in June, there will likely be more rain blowing into the region, he said.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804.

Rainy start to the week will dry out without much rainfall, experts say 05/14/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 14, 2012 5:06pm]

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